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Colored pens/pencils for hand-drawn mindmaps

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  • Colored pens/pencils for hand-drawn mindmaps

    I've been noodling around with mindmaps for a couple of years now.

    Back when I started I followed someone else's advice and bought gel pens and drawing paper. I love the look of the gel pens but half of them stick and jam and don't write clearly on the drawing paper. So I figured the paper was the problem and started using 11"x17" (279x432mm) copy paper. I love using this size paper. The larger size makes a big difference. And I can fold it in half to get a standard US 8.5x11" size for storage in my file folders.

    But even with the copy paper half of my gel pens skip.

    DA mentions that is is a lot better to mindmap in color. I like to do it if I can. Anyone else mindmap by hand regularly in color? What do you use?

    And even if you don't regularly mindmap by hand in color. Do you have any suggestions on color writing instruments or how I can unjam my gel pens?

  • #2
    Colored Pens

    Moises:

    I do a lot of things in multiple colors. After trying a lot of marker and gel pens, I went back to ball points. My favorite at the moment is the Pentel RSVP pen. It comes in five color multipacks: black, blue, red, green, and purple. These are adequate for my needs. The pens come in fine point and medium point. They are also very inexpensive.

    Another pen I like is the Bic Atlantis. They are dirt cheap, have comfortable grips, and write very smoothly. In terms of colors, I've only seen them in four-color sets: black, blue, red, and green. However, if you looked around, you might find them in more colors.

    Another idea to think about for mind mapping would be to make all of the lines and words in black, and then use highlighters to add color.

    I also like the 11 X 17 paper for mind mapping. Although, if you really want to go nuts, use a flip chart!

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    • #3
      One thing you might consider, which is easy to get and works very well is a set of Crayola colored pencils. They draw easily, come in a variety of colors and can easily be sharpened.

      I wouldn't use them in a company report, but for personal use, they're very good!

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      • #4
        Hi Moises,

        By far the best pens I have come across are the Uni-ball Eye UB157 range by the Mitsubishi Pencil Co. Ltd (www.uni-ball.com).

        These are roller-balls rather than gel pens, and come in 10 colours.

        Best regards,

        mark.

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        • #5
          I'll also agree with the Uni-Ball pens. I use them for everyday work all the time. Great quality.

          I also had another idea. I was at the store and found a pack of colored Sharpie markers. Shapie makes good markers, so if you're leaning towards something bolder in color, you could also try those.

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          • #6
            I like the idea of using 11x17 paper. I think I will try that.

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            • #7
              Hey, thanks for all the great responses. I'm going to give them a try.

              I saw a big improvement in the utility of my mindmaps when I went to 11x17. I teach once a week for 2 1/2 hours and like to mindmap the topics I am going to cover. Often I wish to get a large amount of material on the mindmap so 11x17 makes it possible.

              11x17 is also great if there is an important book that you want to mindmap. Invariably, if a book is good enough for me to want to mindmap it, there is a lot of material I want to put in my mindmap. It is always possible to make 2 or 3 mindmaps for one book but that defeats one of the great advantages of seeing everything together so that their interrelationships become apparent.

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              • #8
                Pilot G-2

                Maybe a Fisher Space Pen would help. Although, I have never used one of the Fisher pens. I do mind maps although usually on regular paper. I have a wide assortment of Pilot G-2 07 pens. Once I tried one of these pens I never went back to any others. And it?s quite amazing they are very popular, I see them everywhere now. A little expensive but the refills are not bad. And they have very good grip and writing feel. I bought a few of the pens and use different color refills.

                Moises, if you are using thick construction paper you may get some drag, not exactly sure about your paper and the G-2 07. But they are rocking pens.

                Mind Maps are great, I use them as checklists at times.

                http://www.pilotpen.us/detail.asp?PenID=7

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by moises
                  11x17 is also great if there is an important book that you want to mindmap. Invariably, if a book is good enough for me to want to mindmap it, there is a lot of material I want to put in my mindmap. It is always possible to make 2 or 3 mindmaps for one book but that defeats one of the great advantages of seeing everything together so that their interrelationships become apparent.
                  Moises, mind-mapping a book is an interesting idea. Could you describe that a little more - how you use it, what you get out of it. I'm trying to squeeze more out of my reading and have never thought about mind-mapping a book when I'm done.

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                  • #10
                    It's probably very similar to mind mapping notes during a class.

                    I teach sixth grade science and this past year, I started giving my notes in a mind map format. I had many students who were not dedicated note takers start taking notes because it was less essay and more like drawing. It fit their personality better. Other students were better able to study and see the relationships between ideas since there was a line from "point A" to "point B" to show them. I saw definite improvement in note taking skills.

                    To mindmap a book would probably follow similar ideas and be easier to work with than standard outline style.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bellaisa
                      Originally posted by moises
                      11x17 is also great if there is an important book that you want to mindmap. Invariably, if a book is good enough for me to want to mindmap it, there is a lot of material I want to put in my mindmap. It is always possible to make 2 or 3 mindmaps for one book but that defeats one of the great advantages of seeing everything together so that their interrelationships become apparent.
                      Moises, mind-mapping a book is an interesting idea. Could you describe that a little more - how you use it, what you get out of it. I'm trying to squeeze more out of my reading and have never thought about mind-mapping a book when I'm done.
                      I do not mindmap every book I read. But I do mindmap some of them when there is enough important stuff in them that I want to see it all laid out in front of me.

                      Tony Buzan and others have written endlessly about mindmaps. Do a search on this site and there are lots of links to websites showing how to mindmap. There is an example of one in DA's GTD book. DA also mentions them in his GTD Fast audio tracks.

                      Most recently I mind mapped a book I learned about from the GTD forum, David D. Burns's The Feeling Good Handbook.

                      I put my 11"x17" copy paper on my desk in landscape orientation and wrote the name of the author and title in the center of the page and drew a circle around it. Out of the circle I drew spokes with the following on them: distortions, tools, procrastination, applications, communication.

                      Then out of these main spokes I drew lines with more words. The tools spoke had: log, stick-figure, cost-benefit, double-standard, evidence, vertical-arrow, feared-fantasy, pleasure-predicting, etc.

                      The keys are to use key words to prompt ideas rather than a lot of sentences.

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                      • #12
                        Interesting - thank you.

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                        • #13
                          Tombi Pens -- also Buzan note

                          I found a brand of colored pens at my local art store -- I think it's called TOMI, but Googling doesn't yield the proper results so I may have the name wrong. White barrels with thin color strips on the clips. I found these pens, with their fine points and array of colors -- to be ideal for mindmapping. In any case, go to a specialty art store frequented by artists -- you'll find a good selection, well-arranged, and I'm sure you'll find a brand and style you'll be able to claim as yours.

                          I wanted to add something interesting Buzan says about mindmaps in one of his books -- the physical layout -- free-form with curved lines and images emenating from a central idea -- are conceptually meant to represent actual ideas bouncing arond the brain via neurons, synapses and neural pathways. They are not mere diagrams or decision trees. In other words, a mindmap is a representation of the brain's physiological thought structure. I thought that was interesting. I believe he mentions his in "The Mindmap Book." Also, I read an article by Michel Gondry who directed ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, in which he published the mindmaps he used in creating the story.

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                          • #14
                            I have been summarizing lectures in a mind-map format - on A3 paper (which is approx 11 x 17"), using standard pens for the words and colour pencils to highlight and draw lines.

                            I certainly feel that I have more of a grip on what the lecturer was talking about after doing the mind-map.

                            Occasionally, i have put a (small) mind-map into a powerpoint slide.

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                            • #15
                              I like the colored Sharpies with a fine point at one end and medium point at the other. They throw out a lot of ink, which makes for easy reading, but you have to be careful not to let it bleed through the paper to stain anything beneath. When they say "permanent" they mean "permanent"!

                              Another cool tool for visualizing is this dry-erase sheet that clings to a wall. They are maybe 30" X 40." Obviously you can't file away the result, but often most of the value is in the thinking process itself. These sheets are a nice size to fit a lot of stuff on.

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